CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard men's water polo team and Blodgett Pool will play host to the Men's Ivy Championship this weekend. All eight Ivy institutions will be represented in the tournament for the second consecutive year, including varsity teams from Harvard (6-15), Brown (14-8) and Princeton (16-2), and club teams from Columbia (11-0), Cornell (9-2), Dartmouth (8-4), Penn (9-2) and Yale (11-1).
The event, which is run by the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA), uses the name "Ivy Championship" with permission of the Council of Ivy League Presidents ("The Ivy League").
Seeding the Entrants
Varsity teams are seeded based on their order of finish at the 2010 CWPA Eastern Championships and received the top three seeds. Princeton will be the No. 1 seed followed by Brown and Harvard, respectively. Seeding for the five club teams is based on head-to-head competition throughout the 2011 season. Yale is the No. 1 club team followed by Columbia, Dartmouth, Penn and Cornell.
Harvard finished third in the first-ever men's water polo tournament featuring all eight Ivy schools a year ago. The Crimson downed Cornell, 22-5, to open the tournament before falling to Brown, 15-7, in a semifinal match. Kevin DiSilvestro scored five times to keep Harvard in the game but the Bears eventually pulled away.
The loss moved Harvard to the third-place game where the Crimson defeated rival Yale, 12-7. Games against a club team do not count towards a varsity squad's regular season record, but that did not slow the Crimson's intensity. "We didn't care, it was Harvard-Yale," said Head Coach Ted Minnis. "That's all that mattered - it was Harvard-Yale."
Top-seed and tournament host Princeton won the 2011 event. The Tigers defeated Yale, 11-5, in the semifinals before beating Brown, 7-6 in overtime, in the first-ever Ivy Championship Game.
Harvard returns home after a challenging trip in which the Crimson fell to five ranked California squads at The Rodeo Oct. 21-23 in Santa Clara, Calif. Harvard nearly pulled off an upset over No. 18 Cal Baptist to start the tournament but the Lancers eventually downed the Crimson, 12-10 in overtime. Max Eliot scored a pair of goals for Harvard and Kevin DiSilvestro netted a hat-trick.
Eliot and DiSilvestro are the team's two leading scorers with 36 and 23 goals, respectively.
The Crimson has also received solid play from the freshman class as the next three leading goal scorers are all newcomers. Max Murphy is third with 20 scores followed by John Holland-McCowan (19) and Evan Ramsey (13).
Ramsey has made 36 steals and Alexandre Popp has saved 146 shots to lead the Crimson defense.
Harvard will use the Ivy Championship as a tune up before postseason play begins next weekend, when the Crimson will take part in the CWPA Northern Division Championship, Nov. 5-6 at MIT. Harvard will look for a top-four finish at Northerns in order to qualify for the CWPA Eastern Championship, Nov. 18-20 at Blodgett Pool.